While 2022 may seem a lot like 2021, area organization leaders sound mostly hopeful that better times are ahead for the area’s economy
Interviews by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
“I feel that 2022 will be a welcome relief for many businesses. They have weathered the storm and will now reap the rewards.”
John R. Halleron
Advanced certified senior business adviser, Small Business Development Center, Oswego
“Central New York should experience a continuation of its recovery with even more opportunities in 2022. Manufacturers are currently experiencing growing sales that will continue. Individual company outcomes may be tempered based on their supply chain challenges and finding workers so they can increase production and sales. Most indicators point to a good year ahead for businesses.”
President & CEO of MACNY & the Manufacturers Alliance of New York State
“I think the 2022 business outlook for central New York and beyond will depend on a handful of important, interrelated factors, including labor shortages, inflation and interest rates, supply-chain disruptions and, of course, the evolving effects of the pandemic. A recent Center State CEO economic forecast cited that 72% of local businesses saw themselves as being either very strong (17%) or strong (55%) in 2022, which is encouraging. Still, the headwinds created by the labor market and those other factors bear watching.”
Professor of practice, director of the master’s program, communications management at Syracuse University
“My hope always is that we see a positive trend in central New York for business. I continue to be hopeful in 2022. It’s been seemingly flat for years, obviously with COVID-19 being the primary recent reason. I believe some industries are seeing upticks and growth, while others continue to struggle with staff shortages and overall demand. We need to support one another locally and regionally: every business and every business type.”
Shane R. Stepien
President of Step One Creative, Oswego
“Three money people look out a window and sit down to discuss what they saw. It comes as no surprise that little consensus is achieved from their discussions. All three mostly see three different views, mainly because our values, hard wiring and life experience and perceptions filter the view, hence our opinions. There are many indicators that can be used to project the 2022 economy, one in particular is how Central New York will handle unemployment and wage growth, an essential building block that morphs into improved spending power or, in this inflationary economic climate, level managed spending power.
While Central New York for the most part is seeing modest employment gains overall, health care, financial sector and hospitality seem to rule. In that regard, Central New York leaders are taking a much-needed valiant position to bolster hospitality. Health is an area that has me concerned as burnout, vaccine assumptions and supply chain issues weigh heavily on employment growth fixes.
It will be interesting to watch if banks will start decreasing their location footprints amassed during the post-recession growth of the last 10 years, laying off people-to-people based employees and strengthening their IT departments. Local retail is the real economic uncertainty for Central New York in 2022. How will small box retailers withstand the well-maintained nuances of internet buying? Will COVID-based buying habits allow them a large enough piece of the buying pie to survive? Will we regenerate a greater respect and need for face-to-face retailing? And will supply-chain fixes be enough to get affordable products on their shelves?”
CEO JGL Management Consulting, Auburn
“It’s hard to speculate, given the recent volatility of the market, however, particular to our industry (wireless – cellular), we continue to see growth in terms of customer spending and carrier investment in their networks as they migrate their systems to 5G technology. Those carrier investments and network improvements will continue throughout 2022 to the benefit of the local community, bringing enhanced coverage and faster data speeds. There are also new players in the wireless business like DISH Network and others which could help drive down the costs for the individual consumer. Finally, as a business partner for a number of companies in the local area, while it’s early in 2022, we continue to see supply chain issues carried over from last year which impacts the availability of wireless devices, specifically iPhones and iPads.”
Senior partner Wireless Business Group, LLC, Syracuse
“I would assume that by the third quarter it should be a lot better. I think that because of the pandemic scare at the beginning of the January, we know the virus is backing off. The older population might be less hesitant about going out, so you’ll see more older folks going out to establishments around Central New York.”
Owner Tassone’s Wine Garden, Baldwinsville
“I am optimistic. People in general want to get out and do things after being restrained from doing so for several years. Getting out without constraints will be a huge lift to their spirits.”
Principal, Oswego Community Christian School, Oswego
“I expect 2022 to slow down further in momentum. Material prices are rising rapidly again, and inflation combined with higher interest rates have already dampened the home renovation market. We expect to be busy concentrating on our own projects predominantly into spring of 2023.”
Anthony M. Pauldine
Owner Anthony M. Pauldine General Contractors Inc., Oswego
“With my work with small woman-owned businesses, I believe 2022 is going to be another recovery year from the pandemic since there are still restrictions put on businesses, the supply chain is backed up, and pricing has increased on everything which limits entrepreneurial profits. I wished 2022 was going to be a robust year for women entrepreneurs, but I think 2023 will be the year of returning to normalcy.”
Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham
President Women TIES, LLC, Syracuse
“As a digital marketing, creative, and research agency and business within the Central New York community, Digital Hyve has had the privilege of working with businesses right in our backyard. We learn of the challenges they face and how they propose to overcome those challenges.
There is no doubt that we have endured a lot as a business community these past few years. However, as we kick off the new year in 2022, we feel very strongly that businesses are moving forward with the intention of taking advantage of new opportunities. More and more we are hearing from clients who are looking to innovate and grow their business in new ways, whether that be through automation or more access to data intelligence to make informed growth decisions.
Our clients in particular continue to keep an open mind and allow us to expand their marketing efforts as they see the critical importance of staying on the cutting edge of new consumer and/or business trends. In turn, this allows our business to grow as well. All of this indicates that the forecast looks optimistic for 2022, specifically for our Central New York businesses.”
Vice president and managing director, Digital Hyve, Syracuse